Reward and Punishment in Human Pup Play
Perusing the well respected book on human pup play, "Woof!", I read over the chapter on reward and punishment in training your human pup. I almost covered my desk in the drink I was drinking as I spat it out in shock. The book has some very basic and useful ideas, but I think it went off the rails in this chapter, advocating the use of shock therapy as the best method of reward and punishment Now before we panic, the book said it would be ok, they are human shock bdsm electro toys right, not the dog shock collars.....sigh.. The chapter I read talked of the need to punish, and use positive reinforcement to ensure compliance like many do in real dog training. I laughed, thinking of how amateur and counter productive that old method can be for humans. It just didn't seem relevant, so I moved on after a laugh. Then the day after a pup contacted me online to ask for advice.
well, my Sir is in a difficult situation.... He is new to being a Sir and as such does not know how to punish me for disappointing Him. if i give him punishments, I would enjoy it too much. can you help?
Suffice to say I did not recommend shock toys. This pups situation got me thinking it might be worth stating an opinion on the topic. it is a difficult post to write, mostly because I do not like to be negative. I am sure I could write a treatise on this topic that is kind and considerate and very diplomatic. It would possibly bore us all to tears as I take forever to simply say a few things. I ask your forbearance at my seeming arrogance as I continue here. Please read this post as just an opinion and not a condemnation of others.
Understandably many newcomers to human pup play assume training will involve reward and punishment, Some masters swear by this method. I do not. I wish to be clear, this is just my own opinion, and what you and your master do consensually is between you two, and more power to you both. I won't deny I can and do enjoy sado masochism scenes. However, they are scenes, and controlled and done with consent and common sense.
It is my opinion that human pup play is best done with a cooperative and engaged pup under the guidance and direction of an empathic and self disciplined Trainer. Pup and Trainer can work together harmoniously, rather than in an atmosphere of force and pressure. The tough love may be a fun BDSM scene, but I don't think it's a great way to train. Pup play should be fun and rewarding whenever possible, otherwise it's less pup play and more sado-masochism, which is fine but that won't make for a well trained pup.
Punishment, in combination with reward will seem to produce particularly fast results. Few masters want to be accused of being lazy, but seeking fast results is the motivation behind the cruelty more often than not. Lazy master simply not bothering to be patient, not bothering to learn what the pup wants and what you want and thinking creatively of how to get there together. The stick and carrot approach doesn't so much produce a human pup who is in the pupzone, as it creates a human playing a pup and following the arbitrary rules of the scene. I am not sure that the pup who is beaten and "shocked" into submission and "good" behaviour is truly going to find his pup self.
A pups spirit, his persona, should be created and encouraged to develop, rather than moulded and beaten into a shape the Trainer desires. I would rather the experience of puphood be liberating, not enslaving and demeaning. A pup should find comfort in his owners presence, not fear. A pup who is afraid of you is more likely a submissive wearing a mask, and not relaxing in pupspace.
Some Owners and Trainers seek to be aggressive and domineering towards their pup. They are welcome to that. I personally think that if you want to use the analogy of your pup is like your pet, you need to consider what being aggressive and demanding of your dog means. If you shout and are angry at your dog, he is usually confused. If you think offering a treat or reward is all you need to do to encourage your dog and make him follow your directions, in addition to scolding for inappropriate behaviour, you will be surprised to see dogs that don't require that so strongly, even at all, and can be led to behave well.
At the end of the day I feel powerful and adequate in my self. I feel I can and do influence others in my life. The idea of using shock tactics seems childishly brutal to me. Don't we learn that bullying or beating others actually is counter-productive? Hasn't the average person been demeaned and mocked and injured emotionally enough in life that sure pup space should be a haven not a retreat? A pups love for his Owner and Trainer will be borne out of receiving comfort and care. A pup in fear is your victim not your pet.